NFL, NBA Could Both Miss Games Due to Work Stoppages Next Year
There is no doubt about it - Americans love their sports.
Tailgating parties. Eating hot dogs and drinking beers while watching your favorite team at the ball park. Watching football on Thanksgiving Day. These are just some of the traditions that Americans have, and these are traditions that are very dear to their hearts.
Trouble finding a job? Upset over the upcoming midterm elections? Worried about the growing crime rate in your area? That's ok - professional sports provides many Americans with the medicine that they need to get through these tough times. The economy may be on the ropes, but if your favorite team starts out with a 5-0 record, then you'll probably see some sunlight poking out from behind the gray clouds in your life.
That's right - sports are just that important in this country. They distract, they infuriate and they give people a sense of camaraderie.
Now, here's a question - what would happen if two of the major sports leagues in North America BOTH suffered through work stoppages in the same year?
The sad thing - it's very possible, as both the NFL and NBA look primed to suffer through work stoppages unless some incredible progress can be made over the coming months.
Let's start with the NBA. The current CBA is set to expire in June, and the two sides don't seem to be even close to a deal. NBA Commissioner David Stern recently stated that the league is expecting losses of around $350 million this year. In order to bring their expenses in line with revenues, owners want dramatic cuts to player salaries - cuts in the neighborhood of $750 - $800 million per year (NBA players currently receive around $2 billion a year in salary and benefits).
Players and their union reps are obviously not going to just cave to these demands, and are likely to put up a strong fight. The NBA owners likely want a hard cap (similar to the NHL), and NBA players and their reps are going to fight like hell to make sure that this doesn't happen.
Maybe the two sides will iron out their differences ahead of a lockout, but there is currently a yawning chasm between the two sides that will require a tremendous amount of compromise to close.
With the US economy still on the ropes, there is a tremendous amount at stake, and the possibility of a lockout in the NBA seems very likely.
People love basketball in North America, but people REALLY love their football. That's what makes the possibility of a lockout in the NFL so upsetting to people.
Imagine a year without Monday Night Football? Imagine Thanksgiving without the NFL? Imagine no Super Bowl?
These are all possibilities as the NFL owners and players are currently on a collision course for a work stoppage next year.
The current NFL CBA expires in March of 2011.
NFL owners argue that players currently earn too much (about 60% of revenues). The owners contend that they have incurred massive costs through the building of new revenue streams (such as the construction of new stadiums and the creation of the NFL Network), and that these costs aren't properly considered when calculating the revenue split between owners and players. Owners want cuts to player salaries in order to help bring things "in line".
Players, on the other hand, argue that most (if not all) of the teams in the NFL are profitable, and that the current system is obviously wildly successful. Players will point to the $9 billion in annual NFL revenues as all the evidence that they need that things don't need to be changed.
Again - another very messy situation that could easily result in lost games or even a lost season.
Could either of these situations be ironed out before any games are lost? Of course.
However, CBA agreements that result in no games being lost will require one side to blink first. As of right now, the owners and players in both the NFL and NBA seem to be pretty entrenched in their positions.
As horrible as it may be to even consider, there is a chance that the NBA and NFL could lose some or all of their games next season. Thanks to the economic downturn in the United States, the stakes seem even higher than usual.
These are thoughts that are too horrible for many Americans to even consider.
Filed under: The Economic Meltdown